I have just seen a bit of an interview with Peter Gabriel. He's quite a strong-headed figure and that can put people off.. but the ideas behind his 'elders project' I believe to be quite genuine.
In the interview he mentioned the OLPC project, and how much that has the potential to do. However, Peterl Gabriel things that rather than focusing on Laptops, we should focus on phones.
Phones are becoming more and more powerful each year, so much so that we really have far more power than the average phone user needs. We have bandwidth that can support more than just 'voice.'
Openmoko is a fantastic project to create a free and open phone. Ubuntu are releasing a mobile edition too.. as are many other mainstream distros. It's these sort of projects that will branch off into doing the things that Peter envisages. I'll try and get a link to that interview up soon. It's worth a watch/listen.